Feb 11, 2019 08:18 Asia/Tehran
  • US forces withdrawal from Syria to start in weeks: US general
    US forces withdrawal from Syria to start in weeks: US general

The Top US commander has said US troops' withdrawal from Syria might start in a matter of weeks.

Iran Press/America: The United States is likely just weeks away from starting the withdrawal of its ground troops from Syria ordered by US President Donald Trump, the top commander overseeing American forces in the Middle East said on Sunday.

US Army General Joseph Votel, head of the US Central Command, cautioned that the exact timing would depend on the situation in Syria, where US-backed fighters have launched a final assault against ISIS enclaves near the Iraqi border, reported Reuters.

The US military has already started withdrawing equipment from Syria. Asked whether the withdrawal of America`s more than 2,000 troops would begin in days or weeks, Votel said: "Probably weeks. But again, it will all be driven by the situation on the ground."

"In terms of the withdrawal ... I think we`re right on track with where we wanted to be," Votel told reporters traveling with him during a trip to the Middle East."

"Moving people is easier than moving equipment and so what we`re trying to do right now is again (to) kind of clear out those materials, that equipment, that we do not need," the US Army General said.

Votel did not speculate about when the drawdown would be completed.

Trump announced the plan to withdraw American forces from Syria Last December amid preparations by Turkey to launch an operation against US-backed Kurdish militants in northern Syria.

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His abrupt move sparked concern among officials in Washington, prompting Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to step down in protest.

The planned pullout also raised worries among the Kurds of northern Syria and left them feeling abandoned by Washington.

On December 20, US senators from both sides of the isle reacted angrily to president Donald Trump's decision to begin pulling troops out of Syria, describing the move as a "huge Obama-like mistake."

Republican senators Lindsey Graham, Joni Ernst, Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio as well as Democratic senator Jeanne Shaheen and independent senator Angus King expressed serious concern in the letter noting that the withdrawal of US troops from Syria may embolden Bashar al Assad to take further actions to solidify his power.

Prince, a former Navy Seal, argued that using private contractors would allow Trump to end 'forever wars' and protect US allies against what he called Iranian military advisors and Syrian army soldiers.

“American history is filled with public and private partnerships, of places that the private sector can fill those gaps, where a very expensive military probably shouldn’t be,” he said.

On December 19, Donald Trump ordered a rapid withdrawal of all 2,000 United States ground troops in Syria within 30 days.

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